The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) have admitted mistakes were made during the search for Aivar Rehe, the former CEO of Danske Bank's Estonian branch, whose body was found Wednesday morning in the backyard of his own home, Baltic News Service reports.
Aivar Rehe, 56, was first reported missing on Monday afternoon after he had last been seen around 10.00 a.m. that morning. Searches commenced soon after and continued on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both PPA personnel and volunteers were involved.
Rehe had headed up Danske during the peak years of alleged money laundering activities in 2007-2015, when over €200 billion in potentially illicit funds is thought to have passed through the bank, from non-resident account holders.
PPA North Police Prefecture operations chief Valdo Põder told daily Postimees that the backyard of his home in the Pirita district of Tallinn was not initially searched by request of the family, who had assured the police that Rehe had left the property and who did not want the yard picked over by strangers, BNS reports.
"We only got a visual on the backyard, as much as could be seen when going from the fence to the door of the house. The PPA personnel who were inside the house had a view of the backyard through the windows. We didn't search there specially. We received clear information that he had left. That was the basis for choosing the wrong direction," Põder said.
Põder also said that during missing persons serches, the PPA tries to minimize disruptions to families. When there is no indication of a crime, a house will not be searched.
"Granted, it is a tactical recommendation to always commence searching as close as possible. But since the individuals looking for Aivar Rehe were clearly convinced that he was not there, we started searching further away ... In addition, were heeded the wishes of the family that strangers would not enter their home, be it journalists or the PPA. We didn't start putting too much pressure on them. We were told that Aivar Rehe had left home, that he was not in the house, and not in the garden."
Põder also conceded that things could have been done better, and took moral responsibility for the events.
"Of course, I feel that I could have solved things better and could have been more resolute in certain matters, but at that moment I wished to be emphatic towards the next-of-kin. And I take moral responsibility for this," he said, according to BNS.
Aivar Rehe's body was found in a sheltered location in the backyard of his own home on Wednesday morning. Forensic analysis suggest that he took his own life some time on the Monday, BNS reports.
PPA and volunteers had been combing the heavily forested area and its parklands, as well as the nearby Pirita River vally, since he was first declared missing.
Forensic analysis suggests Rehe took his own life on Monday.
Editor: Andrew Whyte